mon coeur de campagne

living a simpler, rural French life


Leave a comment

My Bluebell Bliss 

 The Morvan, Nievre in Burgundy. Unknown and unspoilt except for a few pioneering adventurers and nature lovers. Le Morvan in May is spectacular! Cherry blossom thickly covers the trees with pink fluffy Pom poms. The Hawthorn blossom drapes the hedgerows like white lace. Road sides and woodland are sprinkled with the confetti of wildflowers. The air is filled with the sweet smell of bluebells or Jacinthes Sauvages and the sound of birds singing! A feeling of joy is burgeoning all around and heralding a long, hot summer. 

Pissenlit

  

Bluebell Chemin


  

Bluebell Chemin

  

Sun dappled woodland

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

ATELIER construction de nichoirs pour hirondelles

nichoirs_st_brisson

We went to a workshop to learn how to make nichoirs – nests – for hirondelles – swallows – at la Maison du Parc, St Brisson.    It was one of a series of ateliers organised by La Parc naturel régional du Morvan and la Société d’Histoire Naturelle d’Autun.  We learnt a lot about the birds and discovered that there are two types of hirondellesL’Hirondelle de Fenetre and L’Hirondelle Rustique.  L’Hirondelle de Fenetre like their nests to be up close under a ledge, window or balcony.

L’Hirondelle Rustique often make their nests in or around barns and old farm buildings.   L’Hirondelle Rustique have a wide chest and the tail looks longer and more pointed than  LHirondelle de Fenetre.

Numbers of hirondelles have declined dramatically.  When we first bought our house here in Le Morvan we would regularly see hirondelles at the end of a hot summer’s day swooping to catch flies. Sadly their habit is under threat due to old buildings being renovated, the increased use of insecticides and predators such as cats and pigeons.

Charlotte

Charlotte getting hands-on!

bowl 1

Mix it up!

You need plaster, water, generous handfuls of earth and straw – mix together to make a paste.

bowl.JPG

Use a bowl as a mould and cover half the bowl. As the paste sets you can feel the heat, leave to set for around 30 minutes and then gently ease the bowl away.

bowl-3.jpg

Voila! A chateau de luxe for the hirondelles!

We had an interesting walk around the parc looking at birds nests that had been made  to encourage the birds to nest.  There was an impressive tower or bird hotel housing rows of nests, it has been built high in the air to keep the birds safe.

The hirondelles are due to arrive between March and April.

We hope they like the nid and move in!

 


1 Comment

Beating the Blues

 

 

image1[20797]

Vauminot, Lac de Pannecière

 

It’s been a hard few months.  A long winter and health problems since last October have made it extra challenging.  Husband hurt his back working on daughter’s renovation project.  He went from doing pretty much everything around the house to nothing.  A huge shock for me!  I had to get stuck in, despite my back problems and do all the dog walks in rain, fog and snow, the cooking and work too.  Bringing the wood in was the particularly tough.  Believe me there is no romance in lugging wood however warm and inviting wood burners look in homes magazines, the reality is a bit different.

Two bouts of very debilitating flu since New Year has not been fun either. It felt like Groundhog Day.  I just had to focus on getting through each grey day.

And all the time coping with a daughter with severe epilepsy.  So yes I have felt sorry for myself, probably been moaning too much and been seriously questioning how we can manage living here as we get older.

Today Husband is on the mend, our hacking coughs are gradually going and the sun has come out for the whole day!  Instantly life seems brighter.

 

 

 

 


1 Comment

Journées du Patrimoine

Le Jardin de Cuy

An oasis of charm in the wild Morvan

Image-1

It was cold and wet for this year’s Open House weekend so I decided to stay close to home and explore a garden that I had never visited before.

Le Jardin de Cuy is a Jardin Remarquable designed around a maison forte. The origins of the fortified house date from the 14th century and until the French Revolution it was the home of the Seigneurs de Cuy.  In 2001 the present owners began to transform one of the meadows into a garden full of romance and charm.

The paths through the two hectare sized, contemporary garden lead along fruit trees, a terraced garden with dark leafed plants,  potager or kitchen garden,  and a cut flower enclosure, an oval with tall grasses; and there are herbaceous mixed borders around the ancient courtyard.

There is an ancient cypress tree standing sentinel-like alongside the house, an avenue of 25 swamp oaks and lots of interesting plants – even a pistachio tree.

Water adds to the sense of calm with four small lakes in a row, hedge homes for wildlife and a gently sloping valley with Charolais cows.

Until the end of September the garden is acting as the perfect backdrop for sculptures made using local clay created by sculptor Andrew McGarva.

http://www.acmcgarva.com/sculptures/

To find out more http://www.journees-du-patrimoine.com/DEPARTEMENT/journees-patrimoine-58-nievre.htm


Leave a comment

Bon 1er mai!

Happy May Day!

IMG_4280

May Day started with a friend wishing me a Bon 1er mai and sending a Lily of the Valley posy.

The tradition started on May 1st 1561 when King Charles IX of France offered the ladies of the court a sprig of Lily of the Valley or Muguet as a lucky charm.  Over the years it has evolved into a way of showing friendship.  The florists and markets are full of Lily of the Valley in the lead up to the 01 May.  The local Prefrecture had to issue a warning this year not to pick too many from the woods.

The sunshine, bird song and wild flowers mean that spring is finally here.  The dark nights are over and there is a feeling of celebration in the air.  The long holiday weekend also celebrates the Fete du Travail.

spinning wheel

We spent a sunny afternoon with friends showing us how to spin and weave.  Spinning has been used for thousands of years as a way of producing yarn.  Charlotte enjoyed using a Spinning Wheel using wool from local sheep, a method in use for centuries since the Middle Ages.  She might be taking up spinning as a new hobby and wants to make a rug using wool she has spun herself.  A good start to the month.

 

 

 


2 Comments

Blue Monday

91958

Blue Monday?  Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

It’s all white here!!!


Leave a comment

Verre de L’amitié

champagne

 

Last night, the Mayor invited everyone in our commune to toast the New Year with a verre de l’amitié, a glass of friendship.  We made it through the snow thanks to a lift from friends with winter tyres on their car.  The snow was so pretty and the Christmas lights in the centre of the village made it look very festive.

It was nice to see so many people there from our small community.  The Mayor welcomed and thanked everyone who had managed to get there.  He then thanked everyone who works or volunteers for the village, the school, the library and various associations.   He outlined what work had been done around the commune and plans for the coming year.  There was a poignant moment when he asked us to remember everyone who had been touched by terrorism and for those that had passed away.

The champagne was flowing but as we are having a dry January we politely declined.  A first for both of us!  Despite lots of attempts to fill my glass I managed to stick to orange juice until the Mayor handed me a glass of champagne – it would have been rude to say no!  I discreetly passed it to a neighbour who was more than happy to drink it for me.

For a small commune of around 200 people we are an international and friendly bunch made up of mostly French, a couple of Dutch (the numbers of Dutch increases in the summer!!), an English family (us), a German couple, a Texan and a South African.

We thanked the Mayor and asked if he could organise more evenings like this!